Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has extended solidarity to the large number of one parent families who held a protest today outside the Dáil against planned brutal cuts by the Labour leader Joan Burton to the Lone Parent Allowance. The cuts are due to come into force on July 2nd.
Teachta Adams said:
“An estimated 12,000 families, including many in Louth, face significant cuts to their lone parent allowance of up to €86 per week. This will be the eighth cut to the lone parent allowance under this Labour and Fine Gael government.
One family Ireland has estimated that there are 6,023 lone parent households in Louth of which 87% are lone mothers and 13% are lone fathers. One-parent families make up 14% of all households in Louth. Many of these will be affected by the cuts.
The impact of this, especially on children in Dundalk and Drogheda and Ardee and across the county will be significant. It will drive many more families into poverty.
Lone parent families are among the most vulnerable people in our constituency. CSO figures show that 63% of lone parent families are living without basic necessities. It is estimated that at least 135,000 children are in constant poverty and living with without basic necessities.
One parent families are also at a greater risk of homelessness. 60% of households seeking urgent housing assistance are one parent families.
The Labour Leader Joan Burton claims that her cuts are about forcing lone parents to enter employment or education. When she announced the cuts the Labour leader claimed that there would be affordable childcare and afterschool care.
The reality is that for many parents’ childcare remains unaffordable. In addition there are few jobs and many employers in the lower-paid sectors of the economy will not guarantee workers regular or sufficient hours.
For many, the Burton cut will mean having to choose between putting food on the table or paying an electricity bill.”
Louth Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has hit out at the government’s latest round of cuts, this time targeting lone parents.
Speaking today, Munster said “these cuts are due to come in on 2nd July and there will be around 12,000 families affected. If these cuts go ahead, it will mean a cut of an average of €86 per week and these are families that are already struggling to cope. This will drive many more below the poverty line and as always, it is the children that will suffer”.
Recent CSO figures show that 63% of lone parent families are living without basic necessities.
Imelda Munster, who was selected as a Sinn Féin candidate for the next general election was also critical of Minister Joan Burton’s failure to keep a promise on childcare. “Most of these 12,000 families are already working and Joan Burton promised that these cuts would not be enacted without affordable childcare and afterschool care. This has not been done and now here we are with less than a month to go and absolutely no sign of any of these provisions. It is at the stage where lone parents will be driven away from paid work because of these cuts”.
Cllr Munster said “We in Sinn Féin have launched a postcard campaign and are asking everyone to get involved. This postcard is addressed to Joan Burton who instigated the cuts. It highlights the difficulties these families face and urges the Tánaiste to reverse the cuts immediately. There is still time to row back. The cost of not doing so will be huge.”
Councillor Imelda Munster polled 2,317 votes in the 2014 election and is the longest serving female councillor on the Council.
Her Sinn Féin colleague and party group leader Tomás Sharkey said;
“Councillor Munster will be our nominee for the role of Chairperson of Louth County Council for all the right reasons. Imelda is a committed and popular public representative for the people of Louth. She is diligent in her decision making and works hard to ensure all matters are taken into consideration at meetings. Her loyalty to the ordinary people of Louth is unquestionable.
“We are facing an important year in Louth. Our county needs to be recognised as a good place to do business and a great place to receive the public services that people work hard to pay for. Leadership and courage will make this happen.
“Next Monday may be a momentous occasion if Imelda is elected. It will send a clear message that Louth is up for making changes in public life and progressing the interests of our citizens. As a party group were are confident that we are nominating the best person of all 29 Councillors for this important role and look forward to receiving the support of councillors from other parties and Independent benches”.
Tom Cunningham (Left) with Martina Anderson MEP
Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham was in Brussels last week to see at first-hand what the EU can do for fishermen. Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson facilitated meetings between port and harbour representatives and EU officials.
On his return, Councillor Cunningham said “Clogherhead and other ports in Ireland play a key role in the economic life of this island. The potential for growth is huge when you consider that there are tens of thousands of tonnes of materials shipped through our ports daily, not only for Ireland but internationally as well”.
Cllr Cunningham continued “The EU’s ‘Motorways of the Sea’ policy, which aims to improve maritime trade links across Europe, together with the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T), includes significant funding opportunities for major infrastructural projects at Ireland’s ports”.
Cllr Cunningham also had a meeting with party colleague Liadh Ní Riada MEP who sits on the Committee on Fisheries in Brussels. “It was a very productive meeting and I will be working closely with her to keep abreast of EU opportunities for the fishermen in Clogherhead and for the port in general.”
“For example, huge possibilities exist to develop the Atlantic Arc which would increase shipping routes from Spain, Portugal, through Irish ports, and on to international markets. It is vitally important for representatives of Ireland’s port and a harbour to be aware of the opportunities Europe provides to develop the huge potential of Clogherhead and the rest of our island.”
Pearse McGeough & Tom Cunningham
Sinn Féin Councillors Tom Cunningham and Pearse McGeough have had enough of the bottleneck in Ardee. The two had a motion before the Ardee Municipal council meeting asking for Louth County Council to commission a traffic management plan to sort it out once and for all.
Cllr Cunningham said “Ardee has become like a car park at certain times of the day. People need to come into the town, park their car, do their shopping, have a coffee and move off again. This isn’t happening. People are going to be put off coming into Ardee because there is so much traffic. This needs to be sorted.”
Following a lively discussion on the motion it was carried by the council. In 2013 the Council engaged consultants for the development of an Active Travel Town Walking & Cycle strategy for Ardee. The council will now look at commissioning a further traffic management plan for the town.
Cllr Cunningham said “Ardee is a great town for shopping and spending the day and we want to make it as welcoming as possible to everyone.”